Last week, Groupon took an important evolutionary step: now, you can search, browse and buy thousands of deals in Chicago and New York City (and very soon, in all cities Groupon serves in the U.S.)* Whether you’re looking for a weekend activity, a cleaning service, browsing your mobile phone for a place to get an oil change on the way home from work, or a good Mexican restaurant when you’re visiting your parents in Pittsburgh, you can now turn to Groupon when you have a need locally, and we’re likely to have what you’re looking for.
Most people know Groupon as the original purveyor of daily deals: each day, deals show up in your inbox. This is cool not just because of the great savings, but because you’re never quite sure what to expect. The possibility of a great new discovery is exciting.
At Groupon, we refer to this as “demand generation.” It’s a boring way of describing being not boring. And while it has become a pretty massive phenomenon, it’s really not how most people shop. Usually, when people buy something it’s because they’re looking for it. I’m hungry, so I look for a place to eat. This we refer to as “demand fulfillment.”
For a long time, demand fulfillment was something Groupon could not do. Our deals had short lifetimes–we’d launch a deal, it would be emailed to customers for a day or two, and then it would be gone. So we would never build up any real inventory to offer people when they were actually looking for something. About 18 months ago, though, we started evolving the model; we first created Groupon Now! We leveraged our massive network of merchant partners to build a large selection of a new kind of deal–a deal to use right now–and made the inventory easily browsable.
Our customers really liked Now! In fact, we were so encouraged by our customers’ adoption of Now! that we took it to the next level: we decided to start capturing all deals, not just use-right-now deals, in a new inventory system we call Deal Bank.
Since then, we’ve been quietly building up our inventory. In the last year, we’ve increased our North American selection of active deals by nearly 13 times, to more than 27,000 at the end of Q3. As of today, we’ve opened the doors so you can search and browse that inventory of deals, both daily deals and real-time Now! deals. Yes, you can actually type in a search (“pizza,” “couple’s massage,” “oil change”), and you can browse by category (Food & Drink, Beauty & Spa, and so on) and subcategory (Indian Cuisine, Massage, Yoga). You can also specify exactly where you want your deals. Just type in an address, a neighborhood, or a city, and we’ll instantly find the closest, most relevant deals for that location.
We’re all very excited to be able to offer this first-of-its-kind local marketplace to you. Stay tuned for even more cool enhancements coming in the weeks and months ahead!
* Note that we’re busily testing the marketplace right now, so if you don’t see all the great stuff I described above, worry not—it just means you didn’t get into one of the experiment groups, but it will be available to everyone soon.
Jeff Holden | SVP Product